Last night the New York Yankees faced off against the Cleveland Indians in the first game of the Wild Card series between the two teams. Both teams had inconsistent seasons but made it to the expanded MLB postseason. Both teams put their best pitchers on the mound, the Cy Young-winning Shane Bieber for the Cleveland Indians and the postseason veteran New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole. The game made for must-watch tv, pitting the best two pitchers in baseball against each other.
The New York Yankees started off the game with the Cy Young winner Shane Bieber on the mound for the Cleveland Indians, by AL Batting Champ DJ LeMahieu getting on base. Yankee’s star slugger Aaron Judge followed up with a huge home run smash that put the Yankees up 2-0 in the very first inning of the Wild Card matchup at Cleveland’s Progressive Stadium in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. The untested, in the postseason, Bieber seemed shocked. He gave up just three runs in the first inning of all his 2020 starts. At the bottom of the frame, the Yankee’s Gerrit Cole struck out two Indians in the scoreless half-inning.
In the second inning, both teams were scoreless while Gerrit Cole struck out another two Indians. Gerrit Cole and his battery mate, catcher Kyle Higashioka, catching in this game, teamed up for an ERA in Cole last four games of the regular season for four wins with a 1.00 ERA. Highashioka has evolved into Cole’s designated catcher during the regular season.
At the top of the third, with Bieber already with 52 pitches, Aaron Hicks singled, and Luke Voit with two outs, doubled off Bieber, as Hicks motored around from first for another Yankee run, 3-0 Yankees. At the bottom of the frame, Indians scored their first run of the game when Jose Ramirez doubled, driving in a run. Yankees 3-1. The New York Yankee’s Cole picked up his sixth strikeout of the game.
After listening to nearly no sound in most MLB parks this season, the constant loud fake crowd noise was a bit unnerving in the ESPN broadcast. If it slacked off during off times and increased during significant plays, it might have been acceptable, but it was just constant noise and annoying.
At the top of the fourth inning, with one on, Brett Gardner hit a long double to the left-field wall, and Glayber Torres scored from first base. Yankees 4-1, Higashioka singled, and Brett Gardner scored for the Yankees 5-1 lead in the game. The Yankees continued to swing aggressively off Bieber but failed to bring two on base, to the home plate. Josh Naylor circled the bases in the bottom of the frame, hitting a long home run to center off Cole drawing a run closer to the Yankees 5-2 lead. But by the end of the inning, Cole racked up his eighth strikeout with just 59 balls pitched.
At the top of the fifth inning, Luke Voit had his second well-hit ball resulting in an out to far center. Stanton struck out, and Gio Urshela singled. Gleyber Torres homered to left, for a two-run homer for the Yankees 7-2 lead. The homer knocked out the heavy-handed curve throwing, Cy Young Award-winning Shane Bieber out of the game with 106 pitches thrown. Bieber ended his night with 4.2 innings pitched with a career-high seven earned runs, walking two, while striking out seven in the loss for the Indians.
At the bottom of the fifth, Cole recorded his 9th strikeout of the game with just 63 pitches thrown. At the seventh inning Luke Voit got on base, Torres singled and it was 8-2 Yankees. Gardner homered scoring two. The inning ended with the Yankees scoring an additional four runs make it 11-2 and out of the reach of the Cleveland Indians. In the top of the ninth inning, Giancarlo added his home run to take the Yankees to a 12 to 3 win over the Cleveland Indians in the first game of the 2020 Wild Card game. Cole Got the win and Bieber took the loss for the Indians.
Gerrit Cole ended his time of the mound striking out a record postseason 13 strikeouts in a Wild Card game. He pitched seven innings of dominance. He allowed just six hits, while walking only two Indians. Luis Cessa in relief pitched a perfect eighth inning and gave up a final run to the Indians for the Indians final score loss of 12-3, to the New York Yankees. The unlikely star of the game was Gleyber Torres who went 4-4 with a walk and three runs batted in.
Tomorrow the New York Yankees with a one to two lead in the series, will again face the Indians, and their pitcher Carlos Carrasco facing the New York Yankee’s Masahiro Tanaka. In tonight’s game, the New York Yankees made a statement. We are here, we deserve to be here, and we are going forward from here to win our 28th World Championship.